After a difficult loss on Friday night, the Los Angeles Lakers met for practice on Saturday. After a night to get over the loss, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni clearly hadn’t.
“We should have won the game last night,” D’Antoni lamented. “That’s on our plate. We messed up.”
However, the NBA season requires teams and coaches to have a short memory. On Sunday, the Atlanta Hawks come to town. For the Hawks’ game, D’Antoni pointed to Jordan Hill to play more minutes. The Lakers’ often forgotten big man is averaging over six rebounds per game in fewer than 15 minutes per game. Even more impressive, Hill is averaging four offensive rebounds per appearance.
By those numbers, Hill would average over 13 offensive rebounds and 20 rebounds per 48 minutes on the floor. Shockingly, Hill did not see any time until the fourth quarter of Friday’s loss, but D’Antoni hinted that would change come Sunday.
Another story to come out of Friday’s loss was Xavier Henry’s split forehead. The Lakers were leading by 15 points when Henry accidentally collided with teammate Wesley Johnson’s knee. For about five minutes, Henry’s head was profusely gushing blood.
“I hit my head pretty good on Wesley (Johnson)’s knee,” Henry said at Saturday’s practice. “I have a headache right now…no concussion.”
Unfortunately, the Lakers’ lead disappeared into the locker room along with Henry. After the game, it was difficult not to point to that event as the turning point in the game.
On Saturday, Henry revealed he would get his stitches out in 10 days, but he planned on playing through any headaches. He passed all his concussion tests in the locker room before returning for the second half. On Saturday, Henry repeated that he had not suffered a concussion but admitted his head still hurt.
In other Lakers news and notes, Steve Nash practiced without issue. Pau Gasol, who was battling a cold, did not practice. Gasol would likely have practiced, but the Spaniard skipped Saturday's session to pay respects to the late Bill Sharman. D’Antoni said that Kobe Bryant and athletic trainer Gary Vitti were also at Sharman’s funeral service.